Saturday, June 02, 2007


(response to Poetry Thursday prompt. 'river')

'Wistful, I gaze at the river's edge and hear the river's song.' Li Shangyin (812-858) from In Late Autumn Wandering Alone by a Bend in the River tr. by Ian Johnston.

Where dark sludge coats rusted carcasses
mucks unaccounted bones of Moloch's children
.......dredge me.

Where surface water rushes, feeble green light
gropes suspended sediment, out-wash of toxic cities
.......filter me.

Where night drops chill and roils the flat river
flecked with starlight and wing beat of warring angels
.......remember me.


gautami tripathy said...

The first stanza is hard fact about rivers..

I like the different thoughts depicted in here.

Inconsequential said...

Moloch, curious choice. King...

Nice and dark this piece, and yet a hint of impersonal, like a river should be...

Radagast said...

And I thought they were cleaning up the Derwent...

_Soulless_ said...

Strong. Chest-searing. (Like the way I prefer my drink. ^_^) Love the title -- specifically: the detachment in it that I sense at first read (coupled by the beginning word "where" of each stanza).

Cheers. ^_^

Dr. Stephen Isham said...

I've been slowly working my way through a book by Greg Bahsen(sp?) titled "Always Ready: Directions for defending the Faith."

He makes a very strong case that as Christians, every academic of our lives must be founded and based off a presupposition of the Lordship of Christ. This book is directed specifically towards the areas of philosophy and apologetics, but he makes it clear that this type of thinking applies to all spheres of life.

You seem to be unable to separate God from your art, your poetry. And that is a very good thing, which I find encouraging... Thank you.

ish said...

gautami, Thank you! I wanted it to reflect the reality of literal rivers. I remember reading about someone who was dredging up all the old fridges and various unmentionables up and down the Mississippi. But the poem is primarily intended as a metaphor for repentant humanity, individual and/or collective.

inc, Yes Moloch worship was surely darkest of all, when the ancient Canaanites offered up their infants to the fires to appease the gods, fertilize the crops conform to priestly expectations et al. We, on the other hand, terminate the unborn for other sorts of expediencies. I see that as just as dark.

radagast, yeah, I know, time to lighten up. :-) (BTW, I think fish out of the Derwent are still fairly sus food.)

soulless, thank you. Knowing you might visit keeps me extra alert to try to avoid cliches, endevour to crawl just a little above the mediocre word swamp.

dr. stephen, so glad you are back. I went over and left you some comment. You have not posted any poems for a while. Got any?
And yes, if relationship to God is not integral to the daily grind, the sublime moments as well as the mundane ones, of what relevance is it?

Dr. Stephen Isham said...

I admit I'm not the most faithful when it comes to blogging. But I do have some poor excuses for why I haven't done any poetry recently. Mainly other writing projects have kidnapped my time. But I will try to get another poem up soon.